West Jones jumped out to a quick two-run lead Friday night. But Andrew Howard tied it with one swing of the bat, and South Jones never looked back on the way to a 7-4 win to avoid the season sweep against the ’Stangs.
Tyler Ducksworth had a two-run double and three RBIs on the night and Mark Diers also drove in a run as the Braves improved to 19-5 overall, 7-2 in region play.
The win didn’t change the Region 5-5A standings, but it did hand the Mustangs (20-5, 8-1) their only loss in league play and will likely give the Braves some confidence going into the postseason. They outhit the Mustangs 8-6 and were flawless in the field while West had three errors.
John Mitchell got the win, striking out five and walking one while scattering three hits over 4-1/3 innings. Reeves Crowder, Destin Shoemake and McCain Walters also got some work in on the mound before Ducksworth came in and slammed the door in the final inning.
Luke Leggett took the loss, striking out five and walking four while giving up six hits in four innings before making way for Cole Tolbert on the mound.
Logan Kelly went 2-for-3 to lead West Jones, which won the first two meetings this season.
South Jones will host Enterprise-Lincoln at 6 p.m. today (Tuesday) for the regular-season finale and Senior Day. The Braves will face North Pike (9-8) in a best-0f-3 series in the first round of the 5A playoffs, which start Friday.
The Mustangs lost again on Saturday, dropping a 4-1 decision to Magee. It was the first time this season that they lost back-to-back games and the first home loss since last year, when eventual 5A state champion Hattiesburg won Game 2 of the South State championship series.
The Trojans (21-3) broke out late, scoring three in the top of the seventh and holding on for the win. They had six hits to the home team’s three.
Mason Booth singled in the go-ahead run and the Trojans tacked on two more. The Mustangs committed three errors to Magee’s one.
Garrett McLaurin took the loss after taking over for Kris Riley, who started and went five innings. The senior left-hander struck out eight, walked two and allowed two hits in five innings. McLaurin struck out two but allowed three hits and three runs in two innings.
Adam May got the complete-game win, striking out only one and walking three but allowing only three hits.
West Jones will be at Greene County today (Tuesday) for a final tuneup before the playoffs. The Mustangs earned a bye for the first round of the playoffs.
— Dawson Craft contributed